Join 3,415 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


It's Chocolate Milk For Me!
April 25, 2014 6:22 PM   Subscribe

Elvis Costello and The Attractions on tour in 1978, go grocery shopping with Geraldo Rivera.

Carry on.
posted by timsteil (43 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
wow!

I thought he was about to start shoplifting at 2:50, just before the lady came up
posted by thelonius at 6:38 PM on April 25


I've been a big Costello fan for 37 years. How did I not know about this?
posted by davebush at 6:52 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


How did I not know about this?

That he visited a supermarket?
posted by yoink at 6:53 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


I thought he was about to start shoplifting at 2:50

Is it worth it?
A pack of Tic-Tacs and Cheetos for the wife
It's just a rumor that was spread around town
By the women and children
Soon we'll be shoplifting...
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:06 PM on April 25 [16 favorites]


Rivera: (Examining jar of capers) What are you gonna do with these?
Costello: I'm going to eat them.
Rivera: Just... straight?
Costello: No, I'll stick them on the avocados.
Rivera: (Acting like he understands) Oh, right!
posted by rlk at 7:37 PM on April 25 [7 favorites]


This is wild. Also the camera spends a lot of time on Geraldo Rivera's butt, which is..quite a thing really.

I wonder how much of this they actually used on 20/20?
posted by sweetkid at 7:43 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


I, like Elvis Costello, was much thinner many years ago.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:48 PM on April 25 [3 favorites]


That's all I have in common with him other than, I presume, a mutual love for his music.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:49 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


"Made in USA"

"Ugggghhhhh"
posted by symbioid at 8:08 PM on April 25


What is that green stuff they have in their hand at the counter?
posted by symbioid at 8:11 PM on April 25


Hah, one of my first experiences after landing in the US from Blighty, all those years ago, was going into shop store in western Massachusetts, and asking for a "Pin' of milk please," and getting a puzzled look, before having the whole half gallon/gallon thing explained to me.
posted by carter at 8:33 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Carter, when I lived in London I would always forget to bag my own groceries and would stand there waiting for the cashier/someone to bag them, while they stared at me like I was nuts.
posted by sweetkid at 8:35 PM on April 25


I still bag my stuff here. Force of habit I guess, I can't just stare at unbagged groceries and do nothing, and it's faster, and people are usually grateful. If anyone says anything, I say "We have to do this ourselves in England!"
posted by carter at 8:45 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


I had no idea it was a thing to bag your own groceries. Just one of those things you're not prepared for.
posted by sweetkid at 8:46 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


Goddamn, look at the fugly cars in the parking lot. That was a ghastly era for American vehicle aesthetics. (Except for the beloved Z.)
posted by nacho fries at 8:53 PM on April 25 [3 favorites]


It took me over three years of living in America before I managed to overcome the urge to bag my own groceries. Then I came back to England after seven years, and spent about six months letting them pile up at the till, and wondering why the cashier was so lazy and the people in line behind me were giving me dirty looks.

And yes, that was an interesting reminder that obesity was not much of a problem back then. And it wasn't just we young punks who were skinny.
posted by Decani at 9:02 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


This is a food library.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:23 PM on April 25 [3 favorites]


Goddamn, look at the fugly cars in the parking lot. That was a ghastly era for American vehicle aesthetics.

No. Longer. Lower. Wider. These cars were the end of the '60s. first half of the '70s. If you've ever driven one, it's heaven. You can literally, not figuratively, drive one down an alley a half inch wider than the car itself with one finger on the super-skinny wheel while sitting on an actual couch called a "bench seat", and replace any given part in it in a weekend with a buddy.

It took Detroit 30 goddamn years to figure out we weren't joking they needed to cut that smog shit out and use less gas while smoking suckers at the stoplight, but once they did... longer, wider JACKED UP like a four-by-four, 30 miles to the motherfucking gallon, because fuck you, we could have done this all the time, but didn't, because Regan, that's why. Obama's cool, we appreciate the bail-out so here we are. WOO! Let's do donuts!
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:37 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


In 1973, a Brit in New York and gliding on sensimilla, I wandered into an ALL-NITE store (next to a 24-hour bookstore!) opposite Columbia Uni on Broadway and said exactly the same thing, "It's Chocolate Milk for Me!"
posted by Mister Bijou at 9:51 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


1. Elvis Costello was 14 years old in 1978?

2. Geraldo's ass filled a tight pair of jeans very nicely indeed in the 70s. And that mustache was so much more majestic! Still, we should have anticipated the douchiness that was to come.

3. Elvis Costello was considered punk rock back then?

4. 2 avocados, a quart of milk, and a bottle of capers. It's all a man really needs. And just a dollar twenty three.

5. Really, 1978 Geraldo Rivera makes a much better Hasselhoff than Hasselhoff.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:26 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


6. You could smoke in supermarkets in 1978?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:34 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


You could smoke in airplanes, in the dentist's chair, in elevators, on the Skylab orbiter, wherever.
posted by thelonius at 11:14 PM on April 25 [11 favorites]


"from ABC News 20/20 originally broadcast in late 1978"

I need context for this!! Did 20/20 just air all this footage without other commentary? Did Hugh Downs know who Elvis Costello was? Did they not have supermarkets in the UK in the 80s? They don't seem particularly intrigued, it seems like a routine shopping trip. No one seems well-known enough to be causing a real stir, other than the commotion. So once again I find myself shouting, "WTF Geraldo?!"

6. You could smoke in supermarkets in 1978?

You could smoke almost everywhere in 1978. Just today I was marveling that as late as 1984 (using the movie Stop Making Sense as a reference) it was possible to smoke in a movie theatre in L.A. I'm not sure that it was actually legal at the time, but if no one complained you could get away with it. It stuck in my mind because it was the first time I can recall when we were asked not to smoke by an usher.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:18 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


symbioid:
"Made in USA"

"Ugggghhhhh"


And then somebody says "might as well just get Carlsberg," Carlsberg being English for "cheap swill."

Me, I'm just surprised a supermarket in 1978 has beer imported from Europe. Where was this? California or Florida, I presume, given the avocados. (Elvis: "These are expensive back home.")
posted by koeselitz at 11:26 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


I do like how people in the past instantly mugged for the camera. That woman who sidles up and offers: "Well hello! I don't know who you are!" - as if that's a thing worth remarking on, someone I don't know getting filmed in the supermarket! - and they have a brief conversation ("I'm not sure who I am either") before she moves off. In the next shot, a black kid can be seen doing a little step and wave kind of thing before the camera moves off him. Most of the people seem kind of embarrassed, though.
posted by koeselitz at 11:31 PM on April 25 [2 favorites]


nacho fries: "Goddamn, look at the fugly cars in the parking lot. That was a ghastly era for American vehicle aesthetics. (Except for the beloved Z.)"

First, those cars look awesome. Second, if you mean the Datsun Z, I have some bad news for you about where it comes from.
posted by koeselitz at 11:36 PM on April 25 [3 favorites]


Geraldo is annoying. I love how all the ladies he asks about punk rock are like sure yeah bring it! People in the 1970's were the best and those cars were awesome. I wish Geraldo hadn't interrupted the lady who asked Elvis who he was, that could have expanded into something interesting.
posted by dog food sugar at 11:58 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


From Geraldo's parking lot walk, I thought he was going to roundhouse kick the store manager as soon as they entered.
posted by thelonius at 12:09 AM on April 26 [6 favorites]


I saw them play during that tour. This brings back some great memories of a simpler time when music was more vital, and Geraldo was less of an asshole.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:04 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


3. Elvis Costello was considered punk rock back then?

I think Stiff Records were mostly considered "New Wave" which is what we'd have called many American "punks". Punk, for me, kind of happened with the Sex Pistols.
posted by epo at 4:43 AM on April 26


3. Elvis Costello was considered punk rock back then?

mainstream media tended to lump all new music back then as "punk". It was a handy, immediately accessible, hook, as opposed to the less clearly defined "new wave", which seemed to include anything that wasn't traditional rock. And, honestly, back then Elvis' public and stage persona could be pretty fucking snotty.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:57 AM on April 26 [7 favorites]


Thank you for this. It nicely encapsulates some of the best and worst aspects of the 70s: music, fashion, cars, and Geraldo. Really brings back memories.
posted by kinnakeet at 4:58 AM on April 26 [3 favorites]


That really was the nadir of car aesthetics. (It was also the moment just before early SUVs like the Jeep Cherokee hit the market, so unlike a parking lot today, it's all cars.)

And yes, Geraldo had the mustache and butt-wiggle down to an art.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:56 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


Costello talks about this tour (in, for example, the liner notes to the Rhino "Armed Forces" reissue) as if he was on the edge of being insane the entire time.
posted by thelonius at 6:39 AM on April 26


I saw them play during that tour. This brings back some great memories of a simpler time when music was more vital, and Geraldo was less of an asshole.

I probably saw whatever their next tour was and by then it was Costello that was the asshole.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:23 AM on April 26


The concept of Rivera and Costello going shopping is much better than the real thing.

Goddamn, look at the fugly cars in the parking lot. That was a ghastly era for American vehicle aesthetics.

Agreed, though the Japanese and European cars of today are still, for the most part, far more "designed" then the US cars.

I've driven all manner of muscle cars and non muscle cars from that era and they are horrible, ghastly, unfathomably unpleasant to drive. Basically a heavy box of metal with a huge powerful engine and bugger handling.
posted by juiceCake at 7:38 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


The "Do you know punk rock?" thing Geraldo did was pretty douchey, and the way he replied to that poor lady who said something about "drinking it", "Yeah. Ok." I mean, I guess I get it.

But mostly, Geraldo seemed like a jackass who was trying to be cool and "hang with the cool kids" and try to sort of show how cool and future looking he was cuz "Punk Rock".

Elvis looks like a guy with some social anxieties and doesn't really want to be there. The band certainly looks like a bunch of clowns.

Never had heard of A&P, so I find this:
Unfortunately, price was perhaps the least of A&P’s problems in the early and mid 1970s. Labor costs were high, store volumes were low (too low for a warehouse approach to work),and shoppers regarded the stores as dirty, understocked, and overpriced. And a takeover bid from Gulf-Western only complicated matters.

From 1972 to 1974, A&P closed nearly 800 stores. The real meltdown, however, came in 1975, when the chain shrank from 3400 stores to slightly more than 2000. By the end of the 1970s, A&P was operating a little over 1500 stores in the US. It was never the same again.
It looks like this chain was on its way down at the time of this filming.
posted by symbioid at 8:14 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


I reckon that it was the penultimate era in ugly car design. The ultimate most ugly Detroit creations came in the era immediately following. The main trend in the 1980's was for smaller box-shaped compacts, like a bad parody of Japanese designs. Man, those were ugly. By the 1990's American car design gradually began to improve again.

But also, yeah, that common bronze/puke-brown paint colour from the mid 1970's really doesn't age well.
posted by ovvl at 9:06 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


Dave Edmunds? Nick Lowe? Anybody?
posted by El Brendano at 10:34 AM on April 26 [2 favorites]


The guys in the supermarket at work that year:

Elvis Costello & The Attractions "Lipstick Vogue" 1978

Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Pump it up 1978

Geraldo Rivera spends time with Mick Jagger and band before they embark on tour, June 20, 1978
posted by nickyskye at 10:35 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]


Geraldo looks so hopelessly, obliviously square and out-of-sync with them; all Tony Manero disco swagger.
Funny to see Nick Lowe lurking in the background at the cashier, a year before his own huge hit song.
posted by chococat at 2:31 PM on April 26 [3 favorites]


I love Elvis Costello, vintage fashion, and food history. I honestly can't decide which part of this video I like best.
posted by jocelmeow at 5:54 PM on April 26


All of it.
posted by blucevalo at 9:21 AM on April 27


« Older The Animated Genome is a spirited 5-minute film th...  |  Parks & Recreation shook up th... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments